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The Digital Society

The Digital Society is a strategic research initiative at Østfold University College. This initiative aims at building a strong research profile that includes several different research disciplines. An important milestone for this initiative is to get a doctoral programme accredited at our institution. 

A description of the research initiative "The Digital Society"

"The Digital Society" research initiative promotes interdisciplinary research activities on how digitalization transforms and affects society. Projects may aim to develop digital solutions that will change and influence societal functions, or projects may aim to analyze the consequences of new digital solutions on aspects such as health, learning, politics and organizational issues.

  • Interdisciplinary - An interdisciplinary approach is important for the research activities that support the program development. Interdisciplinarity is a central requirement for doctoral programmes and necessary for enabling the students to aim at common learning outcomes.  
  • Social relevance - Knowledge about how digitalization can and will transform our society is needed for further development and potential adjustments. There is a need for new competences in numerous challenging work environment affected by the digitalization process.
  • Future challenges - Technological development is an ongoing process that affects every part of the society. The PhD program “The Digital Society” will be highly relevant for such future challenges and opportunities that comes with digitalization.  The subject area «The Digital Society» will include research projects that will:
    • investigate and develop digital tools and technology that will be put in use in different professions and in society in general
    • analyze the consequences of the technology-driven development that the society experiences through digitalization.

The research that will support the program development will for instance focus on how digitalization is linked to health and welfare services, education and learning, innovation processes, public administration, or be based upon the development and testing of new/innovative solutions for society.

PhD program model

A working model for "The Digital Society" has been developed by the working and steering groups responsible for this research initiative. The model has an interdisciplinary approach and allows inclusion of several research environments at Østfold University College with competences to develop this process towards an accreditation of a PhD program. Changes are expected to the working model and study direction content during continuous work towards the accreditation of the first PhD program.

The model consists from four interdisciplinary study directions:

  • DigiTech: The study direction DigiTech represents the research core that will enhance and develop specific knowledge of digital technology. This research module is closely connected with the other modules in the PhD program and will provide knowledge of digital technology applications and development in relation to the working processes, health and learning.
  • DigiHealth: The study specialization DigiHealth comprises an exploration and critical analysis of how the implementation of digital solutions and technology affect health and welfare services, how these innovations are experienced by stakeholders such as patients, clients, relatives and personnel, and to what extent stakeholders can contribute in development and implementations processes. DigiHealth includes three main areas: digital health theory, digital health practices and digital health research. The specialization takes a bio-physio-psychosocial approach, including both sociocultural and traditional medical perspectives on health and digitalization. Research projects within DigiHealth may be conducted from a micro, meso and macro perspective, and focus on the introduction and experience of digital solutions in different situations and contexts from the perspectives of patients, clients, relatives and personnel.
  • DigiWork: Digital technologies bring disparate people, space and time into close proximity. This affect how we structure our society, institutionalise our ethical and political values, and work and interact. DigiWork will study the interplay between digital technologies and society emphasising research on: 1 Challenges of digitalization for ethical, humanand social relations. 2 Implications for employment, work content and processes, skills requirements and pay. 3 Impact on industrial relations, enterprises and organisations. 4 Implications for policy-making, regulation and the welfare state. 5 Impact on societal and cultural development, including class, gender and ethnic dimensions of digitalization. DigWork is interdisciplinary and uses mixed research methods. It explores interactions, processes and outcomes in working life related to professions, humans, organisations, policies and regulations to understand these processes across various fields and sectors. 
  • DigiEd: Research projects within DigiEd will have a focus on how an increasingly digitalized society changes education. Formal educational institutions and settings and a variety of social activities may be explored in order to understand how digital technologies constitute actors, activities, knowledge-, learning- and teaching processes. The focus on projects to be included, may vary from micro-processes such as the use of digital technologies in educational institutions from pre-schools to higher education, to macro processes such as policymaking of education in a digital world or on comparative cases. The ways digital technologies constitute knowledge- and learning processes in various other social activities such as e.g. social media, recreational activities, and organizational work is also of great interest. In DigiEd a variety of research approaches using educational theory to analyze the impact of digitalization are encouraged.
Published Aug. 6, 2019 1:09 PM - Last modified Nov. 6, 2019 11:41 AM